Laser aiming system for weapons Patent #: 4026054
ApplicationNo. 05/846691 filed on 10/31/1977
US Classes:42/115, Having beam adjusting structure or mounted for correction362/113Light controlled by trigger
ExaminersPrimary: Jordan, Charles T.
Attorney, Agent or Firm
International ClassesF41G 1/35 (20060101)
F41G 1/00 (20060101)
F41G 1/387 (20060101)
DescriptionBACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
1. Field of the Invention
This invention relates generally to an aiming system for attachment to a weapon, and more particularly to an aiming apparatus having a light projection aiming device, and which is enclosed within a rugged dust-proof housing providing maximumprotection during use yet being easily repaired.
It is well known in the art to attach a light projection device, particularly a laser, to a weapon to assist in aiming the firearm at a target. The advantages provided by such an aiming system, especially at night, are well acknowledged. However, the need for an accurate aiming system which is completely self-contained and able to operate effectively under severe environmental conditions as well as withstand recoil shock is great. For example, law enforcement personnel are often calledupon to utilize such aiming devices in combination with selected weapons under conditions which are not conducive to the use of delicate or easily damaged instruments. Such use often requires that the aiming device be exposed to severe weather and otherconditions resulting in water, dust or other types of contaminants being deposited on or around the aiming system. Such contaminants often prevent proper functioning of the aiming device at very critical times. Therefore, such devices must be madedependable under any operating conditions.
The need for laser-sighted aiming systems may not always be present. Therefore, it is desirable to provide sighting apparatus having a mount and adaptor assembly that permits a laser aiming system to be placed on or removed from a weapon veryquickly and easily. Also, in case failure of one laser aiming device occurs, it is desirable to have a mount that permits substitution of portions of the aiming device without re-sighting of the aiming device with respect to the barrel of the firearm.
A description of much of the prior art relating to laser-sighted weapons is presented in U.S. Pat. No. 4,026,054. Much of the prior art disclosed therein points out that many systems have been developed utilizing varying types of shockabsorbing means connected to a telescope mount or other aiming system. Also, in U.S. Pat. No. 4,026,054, a pneumatic buffering system is disclosed utilizing a piston disposed within a fixed cylinder to absorb the shock upon recoil.
Reference is also made to co-pending application, Ser. No. 717,349, now U.S. Pat. No. 4,079,534, for a mount to be used with a sighting system for firearms.
Although the prior art discloses sighting systems utilizing a laser mounted onto a weapon, there is not provided a sighting system which combines an aiming device fully protected from recoil shock and environmental damage which can be quickly andeasily removed from the weapon without the necessity of resighting or realigning the aiming system with respect to the barrel of the weapon at a predetermined target range.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
In accordance with the instant invention, there is provided an aiming system for attachment to a weapon having a dust-proof housing which is secured in a fixed relation to a mount rigidly attached to the weapon. A laser is enclosed within thisdust-proof housing, the laser being capable of projecting a coherent beam of light onto the target. A buffering means is enclosed within the dust-proof housing and interposed between the housing and the laser, this buffering means cushioning the laserfrom shock upon recoil and other damages from external blows.
The instant invention further provides that the buffering means include a bushing secured to the laser and adapted for maintaining the laser in a central location within the dust-proof housing while allowing limited longitudinal movement of thelaser upon shock from recoil. The buffering means may also include a resilient member adapted for engaging the bushing and yieldably resisting longitudinal movement of the laser and urge the laser into an intermediate position after shock has beenabsorbed.
The instant invention further provides an aiming system that includes a trigger mechanism attached to a releasable adaptor assembly and positioned adjacent the trigger of the weapon thereby enabling efficient activation of the system.
In accordance with this invention and to achieve the above features, there is provided an aiming system for attachment to a weapon having an elongate barrel which comprises a dust-proof housing member. A mount is fixed to the weapon and isreleasably connected to the housing. The mount also includes a windage and an elevation adjustment mechanism for sighting-in the system at a predetermined target range. A sheath member is positioned within the dust-proof housing and contains a laser,the laser being capable of projecting a coherent beam of light onto the target. A bushing is attached to the sheath for axially locating the sheath within the housing. The bushing is adapted for slidably engaging the housing. A coiled spring means isalso enclosed within the dust-proof housing and engages the bushing to yieldably resist longitudinal movement of the sheath within the housing. The coil spring also urges the sheath to an intermediate position centrally located within the housing afterabsorption of recoil shock. A trigger mechanism is pivotally attached to the system and positioned adjacent the trigger of the weapon. This positioning allows activation of the laser in conjunction with firing of the weapon.
This invention, although especially suitable for use with a pistol type weapon, is also useful with other types of firearms such as rifles and shotguns. Other aspects of this invention not outlined above will be disclosed from the detaileddescription presented below.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS
A more complete appreciation of the invention may be had by reference to the accompanying drawings, illustrating the preferred embodiment of the invention to be described in detail, in which like reference numerals designate identical orcorresponding parts throughout the several views and wherein:
FIG. 1 is a side view of a weapon having an aiming system in accordance with the present invention attached thereon;
FIG. 2 is a frontal view of the weapon in FIG. 1 showing the aiming system adjacent the weapon and in position for attachment to the weapon;
FIG. 3 is a side view of the aiming system of the present invention illustrated in FIG. 1;
FIG. 4 is a view of the underside of the sighting system shown in FIG. 3;
FIG. 5 is a view of the mount portion of the aiming system that attaches to the firearm and engages an adapter assembly connected to the laser housing and power supply;
FIG. 6 is a partial sectional plan view of the dust-proof housing, sheath member and buffering means carried therein;
FIG. 7 is a sectional plan view of the sheath member and bushing carried in the housing member.
FIG. 8 is a frontal section view of the system attached to the weapon illustrated in FIG. 2.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF A PREFERRED EMBODIMENT OF THE INVENTION
Referring now to the drawings, and more particularly to FIG. 1 thereof, there is shown weapon 10, an automatic pistol, having aiming system 12 attached thereto. Aiming system 12 projects a beam 14 of coherent light that is aligned to coincidewith the bore axis 16 of elongate barrel 18 of the weapon 10 at some predetermined distance from weapon 10. As will be appreciated, the present invention, one embodiment of which is shown in the various drawings, is adaptable for use with any typeweapon such as a pistol, rifle or shotgun; although, discussion of this embodiment will be principally with regard to its attachment to a pistol.
In the illustrated embodiment of FIGS. 1 and 2, aiming system 12 is disposed on the top and alongside weapon 10 and is releasably secured thereto by mount 20. Although mount 20 is shown to be secured to weapon 10 at the grip portion 21 thereof,the mount may be of such a configuration as to be attached in any number of ways, including mounted to body portion 22 of weapon 10. However, it should be recognized that the exact location of the aiming system is also determined by the ease of handlingof the weapon and the overall balance of the weapon and system together as to prevent difficulty in aiming the device.
In FIGS. 2 and 6, additional details of the aiming system 12 are presented, especially dust-proof housing 24 containing sheath member 26, bushing 28 and resilient means in the form of spring 30. Even though housing 26 is referred to as"dust-proof," it is to be understood that this term is meant to include the ability to keep out other contaminants such as water, soil or mud. A light emitting device in the form of laser 32 is shown in sectional FIG. 7 enclosed within sheath 26, thislaser, for example and without limitation, being the helium-neon type laser.
Returning now to FIGS. 2 and 3, dust-proof housing 24 is shown rigidly attached to weapon 10 and to a power supply 34, supply 34 providing power sufficient to activate laser 32 through electrical conductors 36. Conductors 36 extend from powersupply 34 to the rear of dust-proof housing 24. (See FIG. 4) Supply 34 also carries an on/off indicator lamp 33 and on/off master toggle switch 35. Supply 34 is carried as a portion of the aiming system 12 and is also rigidly mounted to weapon 10 bymeans of adapter assembly 38. Adapter assembly 38 is releasably attached to mount 20 by pin 40 and set screw 42, such operation being more fully discussed subsequently.
As illustrated in FIGS. 4 and 5, the releasable feature of the invention can best be described. Mount 20 includes handle portion 43 which is adapted for attachment to the handle grip portion 21 of the pistol. However, it will be appreciatedthat handle portion 43 could be configured in any shape desirable in order to affect securement of mount 20 in any number of ways to weapon 10. For example, portion 43 could be configured in the shape of a clamp which would attach to the barrel or stockportion of weapon 10.
The upper portion of mount 20 consists of a unitary, flat member 44 having a lower base portion 46 which is bent back upon itself approximately 180° and also twisted approximately 90° to form a vertical upper rail portion 48. Rail portion 48 is spaced from weapon 10 (see FIG. 8) and adapted for receiving adaptor assembly 38.
Adaptor assembly 38 contains a longitudinal groove or channel 50 sized such as to permit rail portion 48 to be fitted within groove 50 thereby enabling adaptor assembly 38 to straddle rail portion 48 of mount 20 when the system is attached toweapon 10. As can be easily understood, when aiming system 12 is to be attached to weapon 10, pin 40, which is fixed within groove 50, is first positioned in slot 52 located in rail portion 48. Adaptor assembly 38, which is rigidly attached to housing24 and supply 34, is then rotated about pin 40 until the central part of rail portion 48 is fitted into groove 50. When properly aligned, aperture 54 of rail portion 48 coincides with threaded port 56 located in adaptor assembly 38 allowing set screw 42to be inserted through aperture 54 and threaded into port 56. (See FIG. 8) Thereby, adaptor assembly 38 is rigidly secured to mount 20 and weapon 10. Removal of the aiming system is easily accomplished by removing set screw 42 and rotating adaptorassembly 38 until pin 40 can be removed from slot 52.
Referring again to FIGS. 5 and 8, a windage and an elevation adjustment mechanisms are presented. Such mechanisms are needed to adjust the horizontal and vertical alignment of the laser with respect to the barrel of the weapon to accommodatechanges in target range and conditions. Vertical or elevation adjustment mechanism 58 includes screw 60 threaded through hole 62 within lower base portion 46, screw 60 having one end engaging rail portion 48.
As can be understood from FIG. 5, the angular orientation of rail portion 48 in a substantially vertical plane with respect to weapon 10 can be altered by simply rotating screw 60. Such rotation causes one end portion of rail 48 to move upwardwhile the opposed end remains substantially stationary; thereby allowing the elevation of the aiming system to be altered without complicated and time-consuming adjustments. Also, once the system has been correctly aligned, replacement portions possiblyconsisting of housing 24, supply 34, and adaptor assembly 38 can be quickly and easily installed without the necessity of readjusting the elevation or windage since the mechanism is an integral part of mount 20, mount 20 remaining with weapon 10 at alltimes.
As also seen in FIG. 5, windage or horizontal adjustment is accomplished by rotating threaded pivot screw 64 which also is threaded through rail portion 48. Thus, to alter the horizontal alignment of laser 32 with respect to the bore of theweapon, it is simply necessary to rotate pivot screw 64 thereby moving one end part of rail portion 48 in a horizontal plane closer to or away from the body of the weapon while the opposed end of rail portion 48 remains substantially stationary at apredetermined distance from weapon 10.
The ability of the present invention to buffer the delicate laser 32 from damage due to shock upon recoil of the weapon while also providing a rugged dust-proof housing for such buffering mechanisms and laser and thereby greatly improvingefficient operation of the system, is presented in detail in FIGS. 6 and 7. Housing 24 encloses laser 32 within internal chamber 65, housing 24 being made dust-proof by use of end plate 66, head mechanism 68 and lens 69. End plate 66 has opening 70through which electrical conductor 36 passes and is connected to laser 32 at terminal 72. Head mechanism 68 contains opening 74 through which the coherent beam of light produced by laser 32 passes. Lens 69 is positioned adjacent head mechanism 68 witha seal means provided between mechanism 68 and lens 69. In the embodiment shown, lens 69 takes the form of a simple watch crystal type lens. Such a lens is used to limit the range of the laser by diffusing the light such that the device may not be usedfor long range weapons. It is also noted that other lens arrangements are available and easily adaptable to facilitate various range intervals.
Within internal chamber 65 of housing 24 are buffering means and laser 32. This buffering means is positioned such that it cushions laser 32 from shock upon recoil of the weapon 10. This cushioning is accomplished by the use of at least onebushing 28 adapted for maintaining a spaced relationship between the internal surface of housing 24 and laser 32 while allowing limited longitudinal movement of laser 32 relative to housing 24. Also, at least one resilient means, for example, coiledspring 30, engages bushing 28 to yieldably resist longitudinal movement of laser 32 within housing 24 and upon such movement resulting from recoil, urging laser 32 to an intermediate position within the housing.
As more particularly shown in FIGS. 6 and 7, housing 24 completely encloses laser 32 and the buffering means. In the embodiment shown, laser 32 is snugly fitted into circular sheath 26, with circular bushing 28 partially inserted into each endof sheath 26. As more clearly seen in FIG. 7, bushings 28 are formed such that each bushing has a maximum outside diameter slightly larger than the outside diameter of circular sheath 26, thereby forming circumferential lip portion 76.
Also, the maximum outside diameter of bushing 28 is slightly less than the internal diameter of housing 24 such that sheath 26, with bushing 28 attached, may be completely inserted into housing 24. As seen in FIG. 6, upon insertion into housing24 of sheath 26 with laser 32 inside, lip portions 76 slidably engages the internal surface of housing 24. Thus, sheath 26 and enclosed laser 32 may move in a longitudinal direction within housing 24 upon recoil of weapon 10. Since lip portion 76extends slightly beyond the external surface of sheath 26, sheath 26 does not contact the internal surface of housing 24, as illustrated in FIG. 6. Thus, only lip portion 76 of bushings 28 contact housing 24 thereby providing sufficient support forsheath 26 without excessive frictional engagement between the external surface of sheath 26 and the internal surface of housing 24. As can be appreciated, bushings 28 may be formed from any suitable material adapted for withstanding such slidingengagement and minimizing friction, as for example, nylon or a TEFLON coated material.
However, it is necessary to provide resilient means to yieldably resist longitudinal movement of laser 32 and restore it to an intermediate position after the recoil energy has been absorbed by the buffering means. The embodiment of FIG. 6illustrates these resilient means to be, for example and without limitation, coiled springs 30 engaging bushings 28 and corresponding end plate 66 or lens 69.
As can be appreciated, bushings 28 may be replaced by a single bushing centrally located along the length of sheath 26 wherein springs 30 encircle a portion of sheath 26 to control such a single bushing.
It is also pointed out that sheath 26 may be replaced by one or more bushings 28 adapted for direct attachment to laser 32, as for example cup-shaped bushings which form cap-type enclosures for each end of laser 32.
The present aiming system also includes a trigger mechanism 78 having tab portion 79 shown in FIGS. 3 and 4 which is pivotally attached to a portion of adaptor assembly 38 by pin 80. Tab portion 79 is adapted to actuate laser 32 when triggermechanism 78 is rotated a predetermined amount about pin 80. Mechanism 78 is positioned adjacent the trigger of weapon 10 whereby mechanism 78 is rotated by the finger of the operator prior to engaging the trigger of weapon 10 (see FIG. 1). Suchpositioning allows the operator to actuate laser 32 and position the projected light beam on target and subsequently fire the weapon by simply continuing the movement of the same finger which has activated laser 32.
The foregoing description of the instant invention has been directed to a particular preferred embodiment of the present invention for purposes of explanation and illustration. It will be apparent, however, to those skilled in this art, thatmany modifications and changes in the apparatus may be made without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention. It is therefore intended that the following claims cover all equivalent modifications and variations as fall within the scope ofthe invention as defined by the claims.